By Cindy Wooden
Pope Francis in Scampia. (Screen shot)
Pope Francis this morning issued stark warnings to people who rob others of hope; with a strong voice and a clenched fist, he condemned mafia dons, drug traffickers and those who exploit workers.
And he shook his head in wonder that anyone could treat an immigrant as if he or she was a worthless annoyance.
In Naples’ Scampia neighborhood, one of those “peripheries” of poverty and degradation the pope speaks about so often, an immigrant woman from the Philippines asked the pope to please remind people that immigrants are children of God.
“Have we reached the point where that’s necessary?” the pope asked the crowd. “Are migrants second-class humans?”
“They are like us, children of God,” he said. What is more, they are reminders that this world is not the permanent home of anyone and that “we are all migrants (moving) toward another homeland.”
“We are all children of God,” he said, “beloved children, desired children, saved children. Think about that! None of us has a permanent home in this world.”
The pope also insisted, loudly and repeatedly, that high unemployment rates — especially among youths — were a detriment to society and a failure of the current economic system and public policies.
The problem is not simply the poverty joblessness creates, he said, but the way it robs people of dignity and of hope for the future. “When one is unable to earn his daily bread, he loses his dignity,” the pope said.
While Naples is popular for its pizza, its songs and dance, its popular piety and religious art, it also is the notorious home of the Camorra crime ring, delinquency, corruption and drug abuse.
“Tell me,” the pope told the crowd in Scampia, “if we close the door on migrants, if we take away the jobs and dignity of people,” what will happen? Corruption “is a temptation, it’s a slide,” he said.
Everyone has within them the possibility of being corrupted, of paying someone under the table or looking for easy cash, he said. But “something that is corrupt is dirty, eh. If we find a dead animal, it is going bad, it’s corrupt, it’s ugly. But it also stinks. Corruption stinks! And a corrupt society stinks. A Christian who allows corruption is not a Christian. He stinks, understand?”
Pope Francis began his day with a 7 a.m. helicopter flight from the Vatican to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in (Read More)